Pediatric Chance fractures: association with intra-abdominal injuries and seatbelt use

J Trauma. 1990 Apr;30(4):384-91.


Seven cases of Chance fractures of the spine in children are presented, with their association to intra-abdominal injuries secondary to seatbelt use. A discussion and review of the literature suggest an increasing frequency of this particular injury with a high association given the clinical sign known as the "seatbelt sign." Also reviewed is the association of intra-abdominal injuries secondary to seatbelt restraints, and particular attention is paid to the concurrence of intra-abdominal injury with Chance fractures of the spine. The unique features of the pediatric anatomy in relation to the design of the adult seat restraint as it relates to the vertebral fracture and intra-abdominal injuries are noted. A review of the literature discusses the development of a classification for this flexion-distraction type of vertebral injury, and supports our experience of the increasing frequency of these particular injuries with increasing seatbelt use.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Abdominal Injuries / complications
  • Abdominal Injuries / etiology*
  • Adolescent
  • Child
  • Female
  • Fractures, Bone / diagnostic imaging
  • Fractures, Bone / etiology*
  • Fractures, Bone / surgery
  • Humans
  • Intestine, Small / injuries
  • Lumbar Vertebrae / injuries*
  • Male
  • Orthopedic Fixation Devices
  • Radiography
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Seat Belts / adverse effects*